Thermal evolution and sintering of chondritic planetesimals III. Modelling the heat conductivity of porous chondrite material

Stephan Henke, Hans-Peter Gail, Mario Trieloff

updated: 12 April 2016

Volume 589, May 2016
Published online: 12 April 2016


PDF (open access)

“The construction of models for the internal constitution and the temporal evolution of large planetesimals, the parent bodies of chondrites, requires information on the heat conductivity of the complex mixture of minerals and iron metal found in chondrites. It is attempted to evaluate the heat conductivity of a multi-component mineral mixture and granular medium from the heat conductivities of its mixture components. Random mixtures of solids with chondritic composition and packings of spheres are numerically generated. The heat conduction equation is solved in high spatial resolution for a test cube filled with such matter. From the heat flux through the cube the heat conductivity of the mixture is derived. The model results for porous material are consistent with data for compacted sandstone, but are at odds with measurements for H and L chondrites. The discrepancy is traced back to shock modification of the currently available meteoritic material by impacts on the parent body over the last 4.5 Ga. This causes numerous micro-cracks that act as additional barriers for heat transfer. The void structure in meteorites is different from that which probably existed in the pristine material of the parent bodies. The results obtained for the heat conductivity of the pristine material are used for calculating models for the evolution of the H chondrite parent body which are fitted to the cooling data of a number of H chondrites. The fit to the data good. “